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Iran 2017. Dir: Rambod Javan. 100 min. DCP

Director Rambod Javan, known for comedies, tries his hand at drama in this mystery-thriller with surreal and supernatural elements, an immediate hit upon its first screening at Tehran’s Fajr Film Festival, and an immense box-office success in Iran afterwards. In Javan's hands, and with great help from French-Iranian composer Christophe Rezai, screenwriter Ehsan Goodarzi's complex, multi-layer narrative becomes a chilling, tense exercise. The film tells the story of titular Negar (namesake actress Negar Javaherian, the director’s wife), a young woman who loses her father, a bankrupt real-estate mogul, to suicide. Not believing the official story of her father's death, she embarks on a journey to uncover the truth. Javaherian shines in an unfamiliar role, and stands out in a stellar cast that also includes Mohammad Reza Foroutan and Mani Haghighi. (Adapted from CineIran Festival, Toronto.)